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Vanderbilt Autism Research: Working Helps


MUFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT) --  A mid-state researcher recently concluded a ground breaking study concerning the growing number of individuals with autism.

Recent data suggests the number of children born with autism is on the rise, with one child in 88 affected. Autism is a brain function disorder that makes communication and social interaction difficult.

Vanderbilt Researcher Dr. Jule Lounds Taylor is co-author of a new, long-term study that looks at the relationship between autism and work.

“We really don’t have very many interventions to improve autism symptoms themselves. This study actually suggests that putting somebody with autism in the right vocational setting may actually improve their autism symptoms down the road.”

Taylor says people with autism can actually be ideal workers if placed in the right job, especially positions requiring massive attention to detail, such as computer programming.

Given the growing number of autistic individuals, Taylor says it’s important to find ways to help them be productive members of society.

“Our adult services system is really underfunded right now, so we don’t have a lot of supports for them either. We’re trying to understand the best way to support these adults, and help them live their – reach their maximum potential. It’s a really important problem that we haven’t fully wrapped our heads around yet.”

Taylor says she’ll next turn her attention to what interventions might be helpful to individuals with autism in other settings.

You can learn more about the study on the Vanderbilt website.